Self-awareness and the emotional consequences of self-discrepancies

  • Phillips A
  • Silvia P
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Abstract

Several self theories explore the effects of discrepant self-beliefs on motivation and emotion. This research intersected two self theories: self-discrepancy theory and objective self-awareness theory. Self-discrepancy theory predicts that ideal and ought discrepancies cause different negative emotions; objective self-awareness theory predicts that high self-awareness will strengthen the relationship between self-discrepancies and emotions. People (N = 112) completed measures of self-discrepancies and emotions (dejection, agitation, positive affect, and negative affect). Self- focused attention was manipulated with a large mirror. When selfawareness was low, self-discrepancies had weak, nonsignificant relations to emotion. When self-awareness was high, however, self-discrepancies strongly predicted emotional experience. These effects were general—ideal and ought discrepancies affected emotions because oftheirsubstantial shared variance, not their unique variance. Implicationsfor theories of self- discrepancies and emotions are considered.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Emotions
  • Motivation
  • Self-awareness
  • Self-concept
  • Self-discrepancy
  • Self-focused attention

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Authors

  • Ann G. Phillips

  • Paul J. Silvia

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